Swing to Contact

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Step 3The third thing professional players do when they hit a two-handed backhand is swing to contact. Three things have to happen to get to contact — you need to push off your outside foot, rotate your body toward the net, and drop the racket down and swing forward.

Having gotten your tennis racket all the way back in the previous step, from this position — the completion of your preparation — you’re ready to swing and hit the ball. However, before we get to that I want to make a brief point about how my feet are positioned at the start of this video. My feet haven’t moved since I pivoted and turned my shoulders. I could simply swing forward and hit the tennis ball from this position. Or I could step into the court with my inside foot, which I do at 40 seconds in the video, just before I swing. Whether or not you take this step just depends on the situation. Pros will do both over the course of a match. In my opinion, however, it’s easier to learn how to hit a two-handed backhand by taking that step with your inside foot just before you swing.

At 1:22 seconds in the video we get back to exactly how you swing from your prepared position on your two-handed backhand. To get to my contact point I have to do three things all at the same time. First, I have to push off my outside leg — my right leg because I’m a lefty (it’s the opposite for all your righties out there) — and get the heel of that foot up. Second, I have to rotate my upper body back toward the net. Getting the heel of my outside foot up will help me do that. Third, I have to swing forward to my contact point by dropping the tennis racket down and swinging forward. The path my racket travels along looks very similar to a “C.” Doing these three things at the same time gets me to my contact point on my two-handed backhand, which is out in front of my body and about waist high. Also, if I were to make contact the strings would be flat on the back of the tennis ball.

At 2:55 in the video we watch Frank swing forward on his two-handed backhand from his prepared position by doing those three things we just talked about. He pushes off his outside foot — his left foot because he is right handed — and gets the heel of that foot up. That helps him rotate his upper body back toward the net. Finally, he drops the tennis racket down and swings forward to his contact point. The path his racket travels along looks similar to a “C.” Frank’s contact point on his two-handed backhand is about waist high and a little bit in front of his body.

We clip to the top view at 3:30 in the video to further demonstrate that his contact point is in front of his body, about in line with his front foot. At 3:58 we watch Sasha Jones’ two-handed backhand to see how she gets to her contact point from her prepared position. We focus on her feet and her upper body first. She pushes off her outside foot (left foot in this case), gets her heel up, and rotates her body toward the net.

At 4:27 we clip to the back view of her two-handed backhand so we can watch the path of her tennis racket. As she begins her swing, the racket first drops down. Then it begins to swing forward to her contact point. At contact, she’s fully pushed off her back foot, her body has rotated back toward the net, and she’s making contact in front of her body and the strings are flat on the back of the tennis ball.

  • Anonymous

    Hello,
    I’m from the Netherlands,
    and I was wondering, which grip do you use when you hit a backhand?
    Greetings,
    Jurjen

  • FYBfan

    Hi I’d like to point out that there is a difference between hip level and waist level. The waist is the narrowest part of the torso between the sternum and the pelvis while the hip is the broadest part of the pelvis. Might get some people confused. Just some healthy feedback :)

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  • kcnwagba

    From my country Nigeria, I’ll say you are doing a WONDERUL job here. I had this lesson this morning with my coach and it is in consonance with his teaching. However, it’s important to emphasize (as Michael said) that the non -dominant hand does the bulk of the job. Cheers